On Sun, Feb 04, 2007 at 03:46:41PM -0800, Allen wrote:
> An idle question. English has a relatively low entropy as a 
> language. Don't recall the exact figure, but if you look at words 
> that start with "q" it is very low indeed.

I seem to recall Shannon did some experiments which showed that with a
human as your probability oracle, it's roughly 1-2 bits per letter.
Many of his papers are online last time I looked, but some of his
experimental results are harder to locate online.

> What about other languages? Does anyone know the relative entropy 
> of other alphabetic languages? What about the entropy of 
> ideographic languages? Pictographic? Hieroglyphic?

IIRC, it turned out that Egyptian heiroglyphs were actually syllabic,
like Mesopotamian, so no fun there.  Mayan, on the other hand, remains
an enigma.  I read not long ago that they also had a way of recording
stories on bundles of knotted string, like the end of a mop.
The driving force behind innovation is sublimation.
-><- <URL:http://www.subspacefield.org/~travis/>
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